Independence Square

Arkady Renko in Ukraine

[Amazon Link]
(paid link)

I've been reading Martin Cruz Smith's Arkady Renko novels since‧ well, for a real long time. (I've also dabbled in his non-Renkos, but I'm less of a fanboy there.) So I ordered this one back in November 2022 when it went up on Amazon, and it appeared on my Kindle last month. Yay!

Arkady's still working in the Moscow Office of Prosecution, riding a desk. His boss despises him for his diligence. Tatiana, his girlfriend in a couple recent books has run off to St. Petersburg to work for the New York Times. And his doctor has diagnosed him with Parkinson's (a disease shared by the author). He takes this all with a very Russian stoicism and fatalistic humor.

But things pick up when gangster Fyodor Abakov (nicknamed "Bronson" for his resemblance to the late actor) shows up with a plea: to find his missing daughter, Karina. She is a violinist, but also a political activist, enmeshed with the "Forum for Democracy". That's not the safest position in Putin's Russia. Arkady has (literally) nothing better to do, so…

Soon enough (see the subtitle) he's off to the tinderbox that is Kyiv (this is set pre-invasion). And then hops over to Sevastopol in Crimea. Bodies accumulate: a hacker friend of Arkady's adopted son, Zhenya; the leader of the Forum for Democracy. Suspects include members of the "Wolverines", a pro-Putin motorcycle gang. And there's the FSB, successor to the good old KGB.

Arkady (of course) figures out the culprit, but that only puts him in increased peril.

Last Modified 2024-01-13 5:04 AM EDT